Constrasting American and Japanese Living Customs Essay

Constrasting American and Japanese Living Customs Essay

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Are we really that different? America and Japan look very different on the surface. We talk differently, we educate our young differently, and we have completely different customs. There are some obvious contrasts between the east and west hemisphere, yes, but what about this concept of happiness and wellbeing?
Through thoughtful consideration of the evidence outlined in, “What Makes Life Worth Living? How Japanese and Americans Make Sense of Their Worlds.” by Gordon Mathews it should be easy to see that the differences between the two cultures are simply superficial ones. At their core men and women of Japan and America strive for nearly the same things. The main distinction is that whether collectivist or individualistic the men involved in the study both have a sort of collectivist view towards their jobs. With the women of Japan being so similar to the women of America, in that they live for their families in some fashion or another. Gender roles in both America and Japan are very similar among men and women. The most common aspect is that the men are expected to get an education and then get a job and provide for their families. It only differs in that American men seem to look forward to time off from work, i.e. weekends and vacations.
It is interesting to note that both men interviewed had not received a diploma from a university. As for the women of Japan, they are dutiful wives, who live for their families and might be comfortable with the title of homemaker, simply because they are still viewed as truly inferior to men. Denise on the other-hand attributed her failed marriage to the fact that she was not completely sold on the conventional homemaker role that most people may have in mind. The men and women of Japan are ...


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...me joys in life. Each person can identify the things that keep him or her motivated to trudge on with a half grin. There may just be some things in life that keep us coming back for more. The challenge is to seek it out and define whatever it may be.



Works Cited

Clark, D. 2013b. “Similarities and differences in wellbeing between Japan and the US.”
Unpublished manuscript.
Mathews, G. 1996a. “Ikigai in Work and family.” What makes life worth living? How Japanese and Americans Make Sense of Their Worlds, 208-231. London,
England: University of California Press.
Mathews, G. 1996b. “A Phenomenological Analysis of Ikigai.” What makes life worth living? How Japanese and Americans Make Sense of Their Worlds, 207-231. London, England: University of California Press
Ryff, C.D., & Singer, B. 1998. “The contours of positive human health.” Psychological Inquiry, 9, 1-28.

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